This month we have a guest columnist. My wife, Rae Anne, has been promoting her “What’s Your Story?” project, to encourage us all to remember and tell our own personal testimonies. She wanted to start it off by telling about how she came to Christ. Here’s her story:
Many of you have heard me talk about how I came to Christ. It is really important to me that you know my experience with God for three reasons. First, my story ties me to you in a way that nothing else does. In 1966, Rev. Heinbaugh said it very well in the introduction to the church pictorial directory, “We hope you will find this publication to be more than a way to become better acquainted with your church family. The book of Proverbs 27:19 says, ‘As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.’ We who have been born anew (John 3:3) into the family of God are ‘bound in the bundle of life’ (1 Samuel 25:29) with the Lord and each other! Rejoice with me because of it.”
The second reason I want you to know about how Christ made me his own, is that I need to be able to relate it to you and everyone with whom God gives me a chance to share it. It should be clear and practiced in my mind. I want to be “instantly ready in and out of season to share the hope that lies within me” (II Tim. 4:2, 1 Peter 3:15). I encourage you to do the same because our purpose is to glorify Christ and enjoy Him always.
Last of all, I would ask that as you read my experience with Christ, that you would let this story reverberate in your heart. Does my story confirm your experience with Christ? Do you feel secure in your life in Christ? Self-examination is so important. Take the time to ask yourself, “When did I come to know the bad news about my own sin? When did I realize the good news of the righteousness Christ provided for me? When did I realize that I needed Christ as my Savior? When did I say to Him, “I ask your forgiveness and accept your free and lavish gift of salvation in Christ Jesus? If your soul is uncomfortable with the answers to these questions, go seek out the truth. God is waiting and wanting to be your loving Father. So church family, here is my story…
In my opinion, I was blessed with the best parents and best extended family a child could have. Provision, love and discipline made me a very happy kid and I thought everyone else was just the same. My parents took me to church. I learned all the Old and New Testament Bible stories, memorized Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 Commandments. The choir director was my mother. My Dad sang tenor. We sang really great hymns and anthems about God and Christ. But the preaching was not good. The fog factor was really bad for me. I got the distinct impression that I would be in Heaven someday if I was good enough. The problem was…I couldn’t know I was good enough. So I just resigned myself to the fact that nobody could know and that I’d find out after I died. By the way, that’s a really bad time to figure that out. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I thought I had a decent chance. I was clueless.
All during my childhood, I had the longing to know God. I prayed to Him. I told him I would do whatever He wanted me to do. I wrote poetry about Him. Boy, was I confused. I finally got a Bible in late elementary years and started reading. The verse that struck me was, Matthew 6:21- “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” I really wanted my heart to be with God.” Then came a very important teacher in 8th grade. Mr. Sexton, who I think was a minister as well, announced kind of playfully, “When I get to Heaven, …” I don’t remember what he wanted to do in Heaven. The only part I heard was, “When I get to Heaven.” My hand shot up and I told him he was pretty sure of himself, to say He knew he was going to Heaven. I’m sure he said something wonderful after that, but all I could think about was that fact that I knew someone who thought they knew they were going to Heaven. How prideful, but how intriguing. Could that be possible?
I also want to give a big thank you to a classmate, Ms. Cathy Long for dragging me to teen Bible studies where the Gospel was plainly presented. Another church friend, Mindy Mitchell invited me to several, before school, “Young-Life” breakfast meetings. God used all these times to start clearing away my “fog”.
David and I met in the fall of 1973 and on our second date he asked me, “Are you saved?” To which I replied, “From what?” David was the key player in God’s plan for me. He took me to his church, I got to know his wonderful family and finally one night during my Jr. year in high school, we went to a Jack Van Impe crusade in Indianapolis. The third night of the crusade, I could not go due to a bunch of homework. David did go and on the way home felt led to stop and call me. He asked me point blank, “If you died tonight, do you know you would go to Heaven?” I thought for a moment and realized I was not sure of that. He asked me if I wanted to pray with him about it. I told him, “I’ll pray after we hang up.” But before we hung up, I could feel the Holy Spirit tugging at me and saying, “Pray now. Don’t wait.” So I didn’t wait. David helped me to pray, asking forgiveness for my sins and for Christ to come into my heart and be my Savior. I slept like a baby that night. Knowing that you are held in the hand of our sovereign God is a soft place to pillow your head.
One by one my family came to Christ. Their church was blessed with a gospel preacher and they experienced a great time of revival and growth. Through these 43 years plus, I have seen God fill our life with provision, love and discipline. He is the perfect Father.
Rae Anne Tyra